WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
UK Space Agency - UK and NASA join forces on new mission to study ‘magnetic bubble’ around Sun
The UK Space Agency and NASA have agreed to work together on a mission to observe and map the heliosphere - the area of space surrounding the Sun filled with charged particles known as the solar wind.
Scheduled to launch in 2025, the US-led mission will be crucial for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars, and could also improve the UK’s space weather monitoring capability and our understanding of potentially damaging solar flares.
As part of the agreement, Imperial College London will design and build one of the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe’s (IMAP) 10 instruments – a magnetometer called MAG – while providing ground support and personnel to support the instrument and science team.
The IMAP spacecraft will travel to a point around one million miles away from Earth towards the Sun, where it will monitor and measure how the solar wind interacts with surrounding space.
The boundary zone at the edge of the heliosphere acts as a ‘magnetic bubble’, offering protection from harsh radiation, and it may have played a role in creating a habitable solar system. Investigating this zone will be critical for NASA’s plans for safe human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
Science Minister George Freeman said:
The UK’s first National Space Strategy sets out our ambition to collaborate internationally to consolidate our status as a science and technology superpower. This partnership between NASA and Imperial College London is an excellent example of how UK researchers are playing a leading role in some of the most important space science missions of recent times.
The science carried out by the IMAP mission could help astronauts travel further than ever before, while also improving how we forecast space weather events that can have a damaging impact on Earth.
Professor Tim Horbury Science Lead for the MAG instrument, from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London said:
IMAP will be doing some really exciting science that neatly fits with expertise we have at Imperial, both for understanding how particles get accelerated to the highest energies, and how our Sun interacts with our neighborhood in the galaxy.
Professor David McComas, the IMAP principal investigator said:
The rest of the IMAP team and I are so pleased to have this partnership with the UK Space Agency and Imperial College London.
International collaboration such as this makes our mission even stronger.
David McComas of Princeton University leads the IMAP mission and an international team of 24 partner institutions.
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will build the IMAP spacecraft and operate the mission for NASA.
IMAP is the fifth mission in NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program portfolio and newest addition to NASA’s fleet of heliophysics spacecraft. The Heliophysics Program Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the STP Program for the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The government recently launched the National Space Strategy which outlines the long-term plans to grow the UK space sector and make Britain a science and technology superpower, including building on manufacturing and technology capacity, attracting investment and working internationally.
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Half of working mums don’t get the flexibility they ask for – TUC survey15/10/2021 16:20:00
Half of working mums don’t get the flexibility they request at work, according to a new survey published by the TUC and campaigner Mother Pukka today (Friday).
WWF - Largest ever UK analysis reveals public's top options for tackling the climate crisis15/10/2021 15:20:00
A new report reveals that the most popular climate policies among the public would go even further than the UK’s 2030 emissions targets while avoiding hitting the lowest-income families in the pocket. However, to make this happen, the UK government needs to put clear action plans in place now, ensuring the transition to Net Zero is open and affordable to all.
LGA responds to Age UK report on need for 10% rise in council tax for social care just to ‘stand still’15/10/2021 14:20:00
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to new analysis by Age UK, which found that council tax would need to increase by another 10 per cent next year to allow social care just to ‘stand still’
NHS Confederation - Government must increase NHS capital funding and remove ‘needless bureaucracy’ that is leading to run-down buildings15/10/2021 13:20:00
NHS leaders responding to an NHS Confederation survey warn that an insufficient capital settlement will impact on health services.
LGA: Make school-based counselling available to all children to tackle rising child mental health issues15/10/2021 12:20:00
School-based counselling needs to be available and fully funded by the Government in all state funded secondary schools and academies to help support rising numbers of children and young people reporting mental health issues during COVID-19, the Local Government Association urges today.
One in five key workers in public sector “actively considering” quitting – new TUC poll14/10/2021 16:25:00
One in five key workers (21 per cent) in the public sector are “actively considering” quitting and changing profession, according to new TUC polling published today (Thursday).
CBI & 40 trade associations issue statement on business rates, saying action on investment needed at Budget14/10/2021 16:05:00
Ahead of COP26, employers representing around 261,000 businesses and nine million employees say business rates reform essential for green investment
NHS Confederation - NHS delivers for patients but stretching it so thinly is a dangerous game14/10/2021 15:15:00
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, responds to the latest performance figures for the NHS in England.
Audit Wales - Significant loss to public purse due to unlawful activity and poor governance at community councils14/10/2021 14:15:00
Unlawful activity and failure to exercise minimum standards of financial management and governance at Ynysawdre, Llangynwyd Middle and Abertillery and Llanhilleth Community Councils.